Town trying to fine-tune retreat ordinance

Saukville officials edge closer to resolving dispute over bed-and-breakfast inn

THIS AERIAL PHOTO of the Abloom Farm Resort, provided by owner Dale Stenbroten, shows the layout of the property, which Stenbroten hopes to operate as a bed-and-breakfast inn and wedding venue.
Ozaukee Press Staff

The owner of a Town of Saukville retreat is closer to being able to legally operate their business but may have a few hurdles left to clear, including facing potential penalties.

“We’re still working through ordinance changes that would allow (owner Dale Stenbroten) to petition for a rezoning that would allow him to pretty much run it the way he wants to,” Supr. Mike Denzien said.

“It doesn’t necessarily let him get away scot-free. There could be some action for violations.”

The dispute between the town and Stenbroten, the owner of the 17-acre Abloom Farm Resort on Highway 33, began last fall when Stenbroten asked for a permit to expand his bed-and-breakfast operation, which he was running without licenses or permits.

In April, the town Plan Commission recommended that the property be rezoned from agricultural to business, a move that would allow the retreat to operate as a bed-and -breakfast inn under an amended ordinance.

In May, the seven-member commission reviewed a draft of the new ordinance.

Denzien, who also sits on the commission, said its members will review it one more time before forwarding it on to the Town Board.

The town already had an ordinance defining a bed-and-breakfast inn but it was too restrictive for what Stenbroten wants to do with his property. 

Under the proposal the commission is considering, a bed-and-breakfast inn in a business district would differ from one in an agricultural district and more closely follow state definitions.

The state defines a bed-and-breakfast inn as having no more than eight rooms, the owner living on-site, no more than 20 people staying at the site at any one time and only one meal served per day, among other restrictions.

But because Stenbroten operated the business without a license and also for a time defied commissioners’ directions to stop accepting reservations, Denzien said he could face possible penalties, including fines.

“He ultimately complied. He’s good with us as far as ceasing the activity,” Denzien said.

“But that doesn’t necessarily let him off the hook. We’ll have to talk with our attorney and see if there is a reasonable settlement to be had.”

The commission is also looking at drafting a new ordinance governing “rural event facilities,” such as wedding barns.

Stenbroten wants to use the barn on his property for weddings and business meetings. There currently is one wedding barn on Highway Y. Another is proposed on the same road.

The commission is looking at restricting the number, frequency and size of events that can be held during the year.

“That’s next in line,” Denzien said.



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